THE LIBRARY OF THE
AT CHAPEL HILL
THE COLLECTION OF
North Caroliniana Society
FOR USE ONLY IN
THE NORTH CAROLINA COLLECTION
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2012 with funding from
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
WILLIAM S. POWELL
North Carolina Historian
William C. Friday
NORTH CAROLINIANA SOCIETY IMPRINTS
This edition is limited to
five hundred copies
of which this is number
NORTH CAROLINIANA SOCIETY IMPRINTS
H. G. Jones, Editor
No. 1. An Evening at Monticello: An Essay in Reflection (1978)
by Edwin M. Gill
No. 2. The Paul Green I Know (1978)
by Elizabeth Lay Green
No. 3. The Albert Coates I Know (1979)
by Gladys Hall Coates
No. 4. The Sam Ervin I Know (1980)
by Jean Conyers Ervin
No. 5. Sam Ragan (1981)
by Neil Morgan
No. 6 Thomas Wolfe of North Carolina (1982)
edited by H. G. Jones
No. 7. Gertrude Sprague Carraway (1982)
by Sam Ragan
No. 8. John Fries Blair (1983)
by Margaret Blair McCuiston
No. 9. William Clyde Friday and Ida Howell Friday (1984)
by Georgia Carroll Kyser and William Brantley Aycock
No. 10. William S. Powell, North Carolina Historian (1985)
by David Stick and William C. Friday
WILLIAM S. POWELL
North Carolina Historian
William C. Friday
Together with Proceedings of a Banquet on the Occasion of the Presentation
of the North Caroliniana Society Award for 1985
NORTH CAROLINIANA SOCIETY, INC.
Copyright ® 1985 by
North Caroliniana Society, Inc.
P.O. Box 127
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514-0127
All rights reserved
Manufactured in the United States of America
AN EVENING WITH WILLIAM S. POWELL
On the evening of June 14, 1985, friends attended a reception and banquet
in the Carolina Inn, Chapel Hill, honoring William S. Powell on the occasion
of his acceptance of the North Caroliniana Society Award for 1985. The master
of ceremonies was Dr. H. G. Jones, curator of the North Carolina Collection
and secretary-treasurer of the North Caroliniana Society, and the award was presented
by Archie K. Davis, president of the Society. David Stick and William C. Fri-
day represented the audience with tributes to Professor Powell Their remarks,
along with the response of the recipient, are published in this the tenth number
of the North Caroliniana Society Imprints series.
THE NORTH CAROLINIANA SOCIETY
WILLIAM STEVENS POWELL
Friday, June 14, 1985
Master of Ceremonies
Dr. H. G. Jones, Secretary of the Society
Introduction of Head Table
Tributes to William S. Powell
Service to History — David Stick
Service to North Carolina - William C. Friday
Presentation of the North Caroliniana Society Award
Archie K. Davis, President of the Society
William S. Powell
The North Caroliniana (Society,
in reco5nition of his public service and
of his promotion, enhancement, production, and
preservation of the literature of his native state.
North Caroliniana Society Award
WILLIAM STEVENcS POWELL
June 14. 1985
Archie K. Davis
H. G. Jones
David Stick (top) oj Kitty Hawk and William C. Friday (bottom), president oj the
University of North Carolina, were the main speakers at the banquet on June 14 at
which William S. Powell (left in both pictures) accepted the North Caroliniana Society
Award for 1985.
Archie K. Davis (top) of Winston-Salem, president of the Society, presents the North
Caroliniana Society Award for 1985 to Powell. At bottom, H. G. Jones, master of
ceremonies, presents a cake commemorating the thirty-third anniversary oj Powell's mar-
riage to Virginia Waldrop.
The Powells pose at top with their children (left to right); John Waldrop and his fiancee
Tracey Armstrong; Charles Stevens and his wife Janet; and Ellen and her husband,
Stephen Feild. At bottom the Powells are greeted by John L. Sanders, director of the
Institute of Government.
Mattie U Russell, a longtime friend, congratulates Powell at top. She too, recently
retired (as curator of manuscripts at Duke University). At bottom, Bill and Virginia
Powell pose with Dr. and Mrs. Roy Carroll. Dr. Carroll is a vice-president of the
Richard Walser (top), English professor emeritus at North Carolina State University,
listens intently to Virginia Powell. At bottom, the Powells are greeted by Mr. and Mrs.
George E. London of Raleigh. Walser and the Londons are strong supporters of the
George B. Tindall, who like Powell is reducing his teaching load in the Department
of History, eyes William M. Geer's cane in the top photo. At bottom, Sam Ragan
and Ida Friday look on as Roy Wilder (right) greets former Governor and Mrs. Robert
DR. H. G. JONES, Master of Ceremonies:
Friends of William S. Powell, and those who came to see Virginia:
In most organizations, a vice-president is promoted to president. But
the North Caroliniana Society likes to be different, so we demoted our
first president to vice-president, the office that Bill Powell now holds.
Because he is still an officer, however, we must absolve him publicly from
any suspicion that he may have been involved in his selection as recipient
of the North Caroliniana Society Award for 1985. The truth is that the
other members of the Board of Directors did not seek and would not
have listened to his recommendation this year, and when we informed
him of our decision, he promptly said no. He protested that he didn't
belong among the company of Paul Green, Albert Coates, Sam Ervin,
Sam Ragan, Gertrude Carraway, John Fries Blair, and William and Ida
Friday. Besides, he feared that the Society would be embarrassed by the
small number of people who would pay to have dinner with him and
Virginia. It took the persuasive powers of both the board and his family
to win his assent. Well, Bill, look at all of this outscouring — I mean
outpouring — from all over North Carolina. You vastly underrate your
However, some of those invited did figure out novel excuses for their
absence. Being out of town is always an acceptable explanation, so A.C.
Howell is in the mountains, the Dan Moores are at the beach, Lindley
Butler is in Great Britain, Dick Watson is in China, and Tom Lassiter
is just "traveling." Helen Wallis has just returned from Munich and is
presiding over the meeting of the Society for Nautical Research in Lon-
don; Judge Naomi Morris is presiding over a seminar in Pinehurst; Helen
Hill Miller is involved with a memorial to Huntington Cairns in the
Elizabethan Gardens; Lucile Winslow is involved in the preview opening
of The Lost Colony; and tonight Armistead Maupin has a command per-
formance in Washington with a fellow by the name of Ed Meese.
You have received good wishes from many others, and so have we,
only one of which I will read. A new member of our Board of Directors,
Frank Borden Hanes, writes, "You have greatly enriched the heritage of
our state, more than any other, and I am personally deeply grateful for
your assistance in our local history series in Winston-Salem."
Before getting on with your dinner, will you let me present those
at our very short head table, most of whom will be introduced more
Will each please stand and remain standing after I call the name,
and will the audience withhold applause until all have been introduced.
From my far right: our speaker, David Stick; our president, Archie K.
Davis; and last year's recipient of the North Caroliniana Society Award,
Ida Howell Friday.
On my far left, and probably the first time he has ever been relegated
to an end seat— we are very egalitarian in this Society— President William
Friday, last year's co-recipient.
And now, will you join in welcoming, on the occasion of his accep-
tance of the North Caroliniana Society Award and of the thirty-third an-
niversary of his marriage to Virginia Waldrop Powell, William Stevens
Seated in the audience are the three children of the Powells, and I ask
that they stand: John Waldrop Powell and his fiancee, Tracey Armstrong;
Charles Stevens Powell and his wife Janet; and Ellen Powell Feild and her
husband, Stephen. I also wish to recognize the presence of three of our
previous recipients of the North Caroliniana Society Award, Albert Coates,
Sam P^agan, and Gertrude S. Carraway.
One further thing: A member of our staff will put at each table
a sheet from a guest book. Will you please sign the sheet promptly and
let it zigzag to the south end of the table so that in about ten minutes
we can take the sheets up and put them in a binder for Bill and Virginia.
Oh, if you should drop gravy on the sheet, would you please initial the
spot. Bill insists on strict historical documentation.
Now, please enjoy your dinner and your tablemates.
In glancing through the 1911 Yackety-Yack for an entirely different
purpose, I came across a quotation that has special meaning tonight:
The University of North Carolina was established to train men
for the service of the State. The true "University man" understands
this, and accepts his education at her hand, knowing that, if he be
true to her teaching, he is to use the increased power that comes
through her training ... for the good and glory of the Com-
monwealth. When the State requires his services, he gives them freely
and cheerfully. . . .
Seventy-four years later, we are of course jarred by the limitations
of gender implied in that quotation, but are we also shocked by its substan-
tive message? Would its implications be puzzling to students reading the
1985 Yack? More importantly, would its meaning bring snickers in a UNC
If so, our ceremony tonight may be the beginning of the end of a
tradition nearly two centuries old — a tradition nurtured so skillfully and
effectively by a succession of historians whose names you will hear tonight:
Swain, Battle, Connor, Hamilton, Newsome, Crittenden, Lefler, Cashion,
Powell. These men associated their services for the University with their
obligations to the people who paid their salaries, and they recognized no
greater contribution than educating their people in the history of their
state. They sent out across the state tens of thousands of students, imbued
with a sense of the state's past and its present needs. Hundreds who sat
in North Carolina history classes on this campus became legislators, state
officials, some of them governors, who constituted for this University
a powerful supporting force and for our state a powerful and progressive
Ten years from now, how many legislators will have taken a course
in North Carolina history on this campus? I raise the question because
of this alarming set of statistics: In the Spring semester of 1973 — one
semester only— the four sections of North Carolina history enrolled 584
students, about 12 percent of the total number of students signed up for
all undergraduate history courses on the campus. According to the latest
Carolina Course Review, in the fall of 1985 there will be one section of
North Carolina history limited to 80 seats. Just 14 percent of the enroll-
ment twelve years ago. No matter how many students may wish to take
a course in the history of their state next fall, only 80 will be permitted
to enroll. An 86 percent drop in a dozen years.
If, as the recent behavior of the General Assembly may indicate, the
University is experiencing a diminution of its influence among our law-
and budget-makers, our academic leaders may not be entirely blameless
if they ignore the lessons of the past. The influence of teachers of North
Carolina history such as Connor, Hamilton, Newsome, Lefler, and Powell
not only went out across the state through their students; they themselves
went out, feeling at home at innumerable meetings, making thousands
of talks on Tar Heel (two words, please) history to not just professional
groups but local historical associations, farmers' gatherings, labor unions,
civic clubs, women's organizations, family reunions, and school groups,
and in recent times, on radio and television. And they were not strangers
to the country store or the village drugstore. It has been said, perhaps
only slightly exaggeratedly, that Bill Powell can walk through every county
of North Carolina and spend the night with a former student or with
someone who has presided over a meeting at which he was the speaker,
almost always without honorarium and often without reimbursement for
the cost of gasoline.
Times have changed, of course, but the needs of the University in
the hearts of our people have not changed. The sense of mission that
drove Swain and his successor collectors and historians must not be lost
in our Department of History, or it, for the first time in the University's
long life, will become a stranger to the people who provide its financial
support. Let Bill Powell not be the last historical missionary to the people
of North Carolina. Don't let the position that he is vacating remain vacant
longer than it takes to find a successor, who, "When the State requires
his [or her] services," gives them freely and cheerfully.
End of sermon.
You will hear from only one David Stick tonight, so I shall restrict
my introduction to just one of the David Sticks that I have known for
a third of a century. Newspaperman, editor, radio reporter, craft shop
operator, dance hall and motel entrepreneur, realtor, developer (yet an en-
vironmentalist), civic leader, county official — those descriptive nouns suggest
the range of his activities. But he is here tonight as an author and historian.
He speaks for the legion of North Carolinians who are beneficiaries of
the work of Bill Powell.
David began his writing career on a novel. He never finished it, for
he soon learned that truth is stranger and more fascinating than fiction.
Thirty years ago he told a reporter, "I feel it's possible to present history
in written form so that it is at the same time completely factual and as
interesting to the average reader as a novel, short story or movie." With
his books, starting in 1949, he has demonstrated that a talent for writing,
coupled with adherence to strict scholarly standards of research, can in-
deed make history interesting. For example, the University of North
Carolina Press has published four of his books (Graveyard of the Atlantic,
1952; Outer Banks of North Carolina, 1958; Artist's Catch: Watercolors, 1981;
and Roanoke Island, the Beginnings of English America, 1983), and all four
are still in print, a record probably held by no one else. He is also a
bookman. For years he operated the largest out-of-print North Caroli-
niana shop in the state, and when other business activities forced him
to give it up, he kept at least one copy of everything and added it to
his personal library, which now is the largest private collection of North
Caroliniana, housed in a standard library facility around which he built
his home in Southern Shores.
As chairman of the scholarly activities committee of the Carolina
Charter Tercentenary Commission, David was influential in promoting
a new edition of The Colonial Records of North Carolina, all three of whose
editors are here tonight. He was appointed by Governor Moore to chair
the Legislative Committee to Study Library Support in the State of North
Carolina and by Governor Holshouser to chair the Coastal Resources
When Governor Hunt gave me the unprecedented privilege of choos-
ing the other members of America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Com-
mittee, I put David Stick's name second only to that of Paul Green, for
I knew that little could be accomplished on the Outer Banks without
his enthusiasm. For the quadricentennial, he has written the enormously
popular book, Roanoke Island, the Beginnings of English America, and a series
of folders on the Algonkians. Equally important, he has been a sort of
keeper of the faith by holding the Anniversary Committee to a serious,
dignified commemoration, one that will leave behind substantive
Few people know Bill Powell better than does David Stick, and he
will tell us about the recipient of the North Caroliniana Society Award.
BILL POWELLS SERVICE TO HISTORY
By David Stick
It is quite possible that I was responsible for Bill Powell embarking
on a successful career as a teacher of North Carolina history.
Our paths first crossed thirty-five years or so ago when Bill was
writing the text for highway markers under the tutelage of Chris Crit-
tenden in Raleigh and I was gathering material for a book on North
Carolina coastal history. It was apparent from the outset that we had much
in common. Both Bill and I were born in 1919. Both had attended the
University in the late 1930s. Both had done stints as newspaper reporters.
Both had spent considerable time during World War Two wandering
around the Pacific. And both of us were devout Tar Heels — Bill by birth,
and me by adoption.
There were some noticeable differences, however. Whereas Bill had
already embarked on a lifetime crusade to convince the uninformed that
Tar and Heel are separate words when used to identify the northern part
of Carolina, I always seemed to have trouble figuring out whether to write
it as one word or two. There were differences, also, in our academic
background. After earning a degree in history from the University, and
another in Library Science, Bill had gone on to do graduate work under
Hugh Lefler, and was thus qualified already as a professional historian.
My entire experience with higher education, on the other hand, consisted
of a single year in Chapel Hill, devoid of exposure to instruction in North
Carolina history. Yet, a decade later I was the one writing books on North
Carolina history, while Bill was turning out three and four sentence tomes
for historical highway markers. But Bill was the smart one. He was being
paid for his work, while I was not.
Bill Powell was fortunate to have received his instruction in North
Carolina history under the direction of the likes of Hugh Lefler and Chris
Crittenden. So was I. Each of these eminent professionals had taken me
under his wing, offering guidance and advice as I delved deeper into the
history of coastal North Carolina. I am certain, now, that neither of them
realized how little I knew of the historian's craft, for I had learned early
on to bluff my way, nodding sagely when they spoke of events in North
Carolina history of which I had absolutely no understanding or knowledge.
I suppose I had inherited this ability from my mother, who, though stone
deaf, had developed an amazing ability to nod her head, or shake it, at
the appropriate time. The only trouble was that on occasion I have seen
her nod her head when she should have shaken it, or shake when she
should have nodded, and there are times still when I can't help wonder-
ing if I ever made the same mistake with Lefler or Crittenden.
Hugh Talmage Lefler and Charles Christopher Crittenden were older
men, revered mentors, in whose presence my primary efforts were directed
toward shielding from them the extent of my ignorance. Bill Powell, on
the other hand, was a contemporary; unassuming, mild mannered, and
willing at all times to indulge the incessant monolgues of a garrulous
Outer Banker. I suppose it is only natural for talkers to like listeners; and
I liked Bill Powell from the moment I met him. I felt comfortable in
his presence, as one does with an equal, for it was years before I began
to understand the extent to which his knowledge exceeded my own.
Hugh Lefler and Chris Crittenden knew that I had served time as
a newspaper editor, and later as a magazine editor. There was no way
I could possibly let them know that somewhere in the educational pro-
cess I had failed to learn the basic rules of grammar, sentence structure,
and punctuation, and was unable even to define an infinitive, let alone
determine whether or not it should be split. But I had no reservations
about revealing my shortcomings to Bill Powell, for Bill, then and now,
was the kind of person to whom one can confide his deepest secrets with
full confidence that such knowledge would never be revealed to others.
If you have wondered what all of this has to do with my opening
statement that I may have been responsible for Bill Powell's embarking
on a successful career as a history teacher, it is simply this: Bill taught
me to understand North Carolina history. He impressed on me the ab-
solute necessity of making clear to my readers the difference between con-
jecture and fact. Somehow, as a result, I became accepted as an authority
on North Carolina history. And at some point in his career, I am con-
vinced, Bill Powell reasoned that if he could teach North Carolina history
to David Stick he could teach it to anyone.
Bill credits his grandmother with being the first to generate in him
an interest in North Carolina history, but it was a shaky start. In the
afternoons, when little Billy returned home from school, Grandmother
Powell was usually waiting for him, invariably asking the boy to tell her
what he had learned that day. It was a put-up job, really, for Grandmother
was a sly one, and after listening him out she would always say: "Come
sit on my lap and let me tell you what the Yankees did in Duplin County."
Grandmother Powell was a good storyteller, and Bill was fascinated
with her accounts of the burning of homes and crops by Sherman's
marauding troops. But he was confused, especially about the minerals.
The villain in the stories was the man his grandmother referred to, and
always with an appropriate sneer, as "Mr. Lincoln." This was the same
man whose likeness appeared on newly minted pennies. But Billy Powell
knew that pennies were made of copper. Why, then, was the war for
which Lincoln was responsible known as "The Silver War."
Once that hurdle was passed, and Bill understood that his grand-
mother was talking about the Civil War rather than the Silver War, it
all made a lot more sense. And in later years, when historian William
S. Powell has been chastised for referring to the Civil War instead of The
War Between The States, his response has always been that his grand-
mother called it The Civil War, and if she had suffered through it and
still called it The Civil War, then he saw no reason why the rest of us
shouldn't call it that also.
Grandmother Powell whetted Bill's appetite for history. His mother
and father fed it. Among his earliest and most treasured recollections are
family trips to different parts of his native state, always arranged so that
the high spot was a visit to some site of historic significance. Thus his
first exposure to North Carolina history was not in reading the accounts
in history books, in those days often excruciatingly dull and uninteresting,
but in actually visiting the sites where historic events had taken place.
One of the visits, in 1937, was to Manteo and Roanoke Island to
see the play Paul Green had written to commemorate the 350th anniver-
sary of the arrival of the so-called Lost Colony, and the birth of Virginia
Dare. As he sat in Waterside Theatre that evening, on the very site of
the events being depicted on stage, witnessing the debut of the new art
form Paul Green described as symphonic drama, could Bill possibly have
dreamed that in time he would become one of the leading authorities
on the Raleigh colonization efforts; that he would serve for decades as
official historian of the Roanoke Island Historical Association, producer
of The Lost Colony; and that he would be a prime mover, as a member
of America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee, in planning an
appropriate commemoration of the quadricentennial of the Roanoke Island
If you took the time to read carefully the invitation to this affair
you know that we are here not only to pay tribute to Bill Powell, but
to celebrate the thirty-third anniversary of the marriage of William S.
Powell and Virginia Waldrop, a one-time librarian, late of Raleigh; and
it brings to mind a tantalizing question. Is it possible for a man, through
calculation and design, to determine in advance exactly whom he will
fall in love with? If so, then Bill Powell succeeded to a higher degree
than anyone I have ever encountered.
Virginia's name does not appear as co-author or co-editor on any
of Bill's many published articles and books. The reason is that Virginia
does not, as some suppose, share in the writing or in the basic research.
Bill is a one-man assembly line, turning out a product known as North
Carolina history. He decides what he wants to write, and how he wants
to organize it; and when he is working on a book he operates on a rigid
schedule, sitting at the typewriter most often in his office rather than
at home, until he has turned out his daily quota of publishable copy. He
works from notes or note-cards, often in shorthand, which he had the
good sense to learn early in his career. When he lectures on North Carolina
history, whether in the classroom or before a lay or professional audience,
he speaks from these notes he has prepared himself, following an outline
he drew up himself, and especially in the question and answer period,
responding with insight from what is undoubtedly the most extensive
living encyclopedia of North Carolina information.
Could he not, therefore, have made out as well had he married a
cosmetologist, or a nurse, or a belly-dancer instead of Virginia Waldrop?
The answer, emphatically, is "No!" When Bill Powell goes off somewhere
to lecture on North Carolina history, Virginia Powell is almost always
in the audience. When he visits a site of historical interest, here or abroad,
Virginia is with him. When he attends a meeting of one of the numerous
commissions, or historical societies, or editorial boards of which he is a
member, Virginia is there, in attendance if visitors are allowed, or waiting
for him just outside the door when the meeting is ended.
There is more. Virginia is his mirror, reflecting his ideas and his plans,
letting him know with clarity and insight whether what he has in mind
looks good, or should be changed. She is his filing clerk, keeping in proper
order all the mass of 3x5 and 4x6 note cards, xeroxed abstracts, personal
reminders, partly finished manuscripts, and rough outlines of projected
undertakings. She is his secretary and research assistant, checking out the
library books he thinks he may need, tracking down the obscure leads
he feels may have a bearing on the subject at hand, making copies of notes,
answering the telephone. She is always there to handle the routine and
mundane, making it possible for historian William S. Powell to turn out
a prodigious quantity of definitive work.
I hope Bill realizes how fortunate he is; and on reflection I am quite
certain he does. For theirs is a relationship of mutual understanding, respect,
and love; as cohorts, as man and wife, as friends, and as companions. And
the relationship is so close and so constant that I was not surprised recently
when someone asked me if they were brother and sister; and I had to
admit that, through the years, they have even begun to look alike.
Bill and Virginia Powell keep things. Bill decides what to keep. Virginia
keeps it. Like most of us who are interested in history they keep pertinent
books, periodicals, pamphlets, maps and other related material, including
artifacts if they have some special significance. But the thing that sets them
apart is that, unlike the rest of us, they have kept for thirty-three years
a detailed record of their daily expenditures.
It is typical of Bill Powell that the early decision to keep a record
of every penny they spent and what they spent it for, day in and day out,
throughout a marriage that has produced two sons and a daughter, was
for the benefit of other and future historians, rather than himself. Early
in his research Bill became aware of the paucity of accurate and minutely
detailed information on what people spent money for, and how much
they spent for each item, and he realized that if anybody had ever taken
the time to keep such records over an extended period the information
would provide insight not otherwise available on people and how they
lived. So, along with their wedding vows or shortly thereafter, Bill and
Virginia pledged to undertake and continue such a project for so long
as they both might live.
It is just this kind of attention to detail that is the first key to Bill
Powell's success. Only a person with such dedication and determination
would have been brazen enough to set out to produce what North Carolina
and all of the other states lacked: a comprehensive, accurate, even interesting,
state gazetteer. And who else in North Carolina, on his own and on the
side, would then have undertaken the compilation of a Dictionary of North
Carolina Biography, comparable in quality and historical integrity to the
DAB, and even exceeding it in scope? That mammoth project is almost
completed, with Bill providing each of some 700 contributors with basic
material on their assigned subjects, then ending up writing or rewriting
hundreds of the approximately 4,000 biographies.
The gazetteer and the dictionary of biography will remain as memorials
to Professor William S. Powell long after he and the rest of us have departed
this earth, for those two works will continue to serve as the foundation
of every library of North Caroliniana. Yet they represent only a relatively
small part of the contribution Bill Powell has made to our knowledge
and understanding of North Carolina history.
As an author Bill has turned out so many books and articles that
I have been unable to get from him or anyone else an accurate listing,
or even an up-to-date count. Certainly, they total more than a hundred,
of which twenty or so are books. But unlike some historian-authors, who
limit their output to a single subject matter— North Carolina coastal history,
for example — Bill has turned out definitive works on such diverse sub-
jects as the Raleigh colonists, the North Carolina charter, church history,
the Regulators, Governor Tryon, the colonial period, higher education,
the Lords Proprietors, and Lenoir and Caswell counties.
But his books and articles are just the beginning.
If he had done nothing else, Bill's work as a bibliographer has been
of sufficient importance to rank him with McMurtrie, Weeks, Thorn-
ton, and Woods and Laney as a major contributor in this important and
highly specialized field. In 1952 he was co-author of A Bibliography oj
North Carolina County Histories, which he revised and updated two years
later. Beginning in 1957, and for the next sixteen years, he prepared the
annual North Carolina Bibliography for the Historical Review. And in 1958
he edited North Carolina Fiction, 1734-1957, An Annotated Bibliography, the
bible for collectors of Tar Heel fiction.
Bill is much more than an author and a bibliographer.
The very first hard-bound issue of American Heritage, December, 1954,
lists William S. Powell as the Contributing Editor responsible for history
news, and in the more than three decades since then he has served as editor
or editorial board member for a wide range of periodicals and publishing
projects. My own involvement with Bill demonstrates the scope of this
seemingly peripheral activity. In the early 1960s we served as co-chairmen
of the Scholarly Activities Committee of the Carolina Charter Tercentenary
Commission, which initiated the new Colonial Records Project and pro-
duced a series of tercentenary publications; in the late 1960s we were
members of the Advisory Editorial Board for the North Carolina Historical
Review; and beginning in 1978 we were members of the publications sub-
committee of America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee—
appointed, I should note, by H. G. Jones, who conceived the Four Hun-
dredth Committee, wrote the bill establishing it, lobbied it through the
General Assembly, and then chaired the committee during its formative
period. Fortunately for me, Bill succeeded me as chairman of the publica-
tions subcommittee just about the time we were getting ready to publish
an extensive series of books, pamphlets, and folders; and in the years since
Bill has spent innumerable hours lining up authors, editing their
manuscripts, and shepherding their work through the publications process.
People who have never served as editors, and have never had to deal
with authors and publishers, correct manuscripts, and check proofs, can
have no idea of the amount of work involved, or of the tedious, frustrating,
and often boring nature of that work. Just this week, in one of his letters
to me, Bill included an aside on the progress of Dictionary of North Carolina
For more than a month I have been deeply involved in reading
galley proof of volume two of the DNCB. I have read two "batches,"
have a third almost half finished, and the final portion is due from
the Press today. I read proof at home against the manuscript, then
bring both to the N.C. Collection to answer questions. Virginia then
reads it to look for typos, and finally I transfer all markings to the
master copy to be returned to the Press. This whole process is schedul-
ed to be completed by July 15, if my sanity and eyesight hold out.
It's amazing what questions can be raised from printed copy that you
have never seen in typed copy.
Though most people know Bill Powell by his written works, there
are others — many others— whose contact with him has been face to face
and personal. Somehow he manages, regularly, to make talks and speeches,
or read papers, before historical societies, civic clubs, and other organiza-
tions, transmitting verbally a small portion of his knowledge of North
Carolina history. He has spent even more time, however, serving on com-
missions and as an officer or board member of other organizations whose
mission is to encourage an understanding of our heritage. The list of
organizations he has helped form or has headed begins with the Historical
Society of North Carolina, the Literary and Historical Association, and
the Society of County and Local Historians, and goes on almost
If this cursory listing of Bill Powell's accomplishments and in-
volvements has begun to seem, in itself, interminable, I should point out
that everything I have mentioned so far has been in the category of volunteer
or public service activity, with nothing whatsoever about his primary mis-
sion, his salaried jobs as a curator and as a teacher, the fruits of which
have made it possible for Bill and Virginia to make the daily expenditures
which she records in minute detail.
Bill served for fourteen years beginning in 1958 as Curator of the
North Carolina Collection here at the University. His predecessor, that
lovely lady, Miss Mary Thornton, was a librarian. Bill took over the job
with qualifications as both librarian, with a degree in library science, and
historian, with a master's degree. With no reflection intended on the job
done by Miss Mary— at whose retirement, incidentally, Bill arranged for
me to have the privilege of being the speaker in ceremonies here in the
Carolina Inn — it is fair to say that Bill Powell transformed the Carolina
Collection from a library of books on North Carolina to one of the finest
regional research facilities in America. All of us who have done serious
research on North Carolina history, and any of us who have wanted to
learn more about some phase of that history, have found it imperative
to begin our search here. The names of John Sprunt Hill, Stephen B.
Weeks, Bruce Cotten, and Mary Thornton are among those indelibly etched
on the framework of this depository of information and knowledge, and
though the name of William S. Powell would appear, chronologically,
at the bottom of that list, on the basis of importance Powell should be
near the top.
If someone met Bill Powell for the first time and asked him what
he does, the response would surely be that he teaches North Carolina
history. And if someone who knows Bill asks him, as I did recently, what
he considers his most meaningful and fulfilling accomplishment, his reply
would be that it was in dealing, individually, with the many hundreds
of students with whom he has been associated as teacher and advisor for
nearly a quarter of a century.
Bill began teaching North Carolina history during the period when
he served as curator of the North Carolina Collection, and in 1973 he
resigned his library position to become a full professor, succeeding Hugh
Lefler in teaching state history at the University. This has been Bill's primary
work, taking priority over all else, and his involvement with his students
has extended far beyond the classroom. Bill regularly takes his students
on field trips, exposing them to the sites where events of historical
significance actually took place, as his parents had taken him in an earlier
era. He does his research and writing in his office, not because he can
do the work better there, or because Virginia and the kids would be in
the way at home, but so that he can be available whenever one of his
students wants to drop by, to seek advice or the answer to a question,
or just to talk about what he or she is doing, or might want to do. It
is this rapport with his students, and the satisfaction of watching a young
person emerging as a prospective historian, that provides Bill Powell with
all of the reward he ever wants for his efforts. One result is that when
others in his profession speak of Bill Powell, they often refer to him as
the "historian's historian."
With this litany of prodigious accomplishment, Bill Powell seems
almost to emerge as a saint in historian's garb. Are there no negatives,
no regrets, in the life and work of this prolific yet unassuming man? Yes,
People often refer to Bill as "Dr. Powell," but they are technically
in error. For, after all these years of work and accomplishment, during
which time many of his students have gone on to earn their doctoral degrees,
William S. Powell's title is still just professor of history at the University
of North Carolina. Periodically one hears, even as far away as the coast,
rumors of displeasure, voiced in private conversation by holders of more
advanced degrees in these halls of academia, over the status and stature
of Professor Powell. Bill is aware of this, and regrets it, and says now
that he probably should have gone on to get his doctorate, not so that
he would have the title held by other tenured full professors on the faculty,
but so there would be no basis for resentment on their part.
I, for one, am glad Bill did not waste the time it would have taken
him to earn a doctoral degree. It would mean that one or more of his
accomplishments would have been bypassed, and that he would be get-
ting started later, and maybe too late, on the one major project he still
has in mind, the compilation of a Dictionary of North Carolina History.
Beyond that, I am aware that in 1978 he was awarded an honorary
doctorate from what was then Campbell College. That's enough for me,
and it should be for others.
We salute you, Honorary Doctor William Stevens Powell.
Remember those words from the 1911 Yackety-Yack? "When the State
requires his services, he gives them freely and cheerfully. . . ."
They describe not just Bill Powell. They apply equally to William
C. Friday, who has probably chaired or been a member of more boards
and commissions in North Carolina than any other person in the past
half century. The last nine governors have leaned upon him, and he has
influenced the course of every legislature. His stewardship of higher educa-
tion in North Carolina has gained for him and our state the attention
of the nation. He has served as president of the Association of American
Universities, chairman of the American Council of Education, chairman
of the Commission on White House Fellows, chairman of President
Johnson's Task Force on Education and, ten years later, of President Carter's
Task Force on Education. His is a respected voice across the land.
Here in North Carolina, he abjures the petty squabbles that divide
us, and instead holds high the principle of understanding that draws the
attention of our people to the state's long tradition of progress with modera-
tion and tolerance. In many ways, William Friday, though not a profes-
sional historian, is a missionary in the tradition of the Connors and the
BILL POWELLS SERVICE TO THE STATE
By William C. Friday
In 1909 the Guilford Battle Ground Company erected a monument to the
muse of history, Clio. Professor C. Alfonso Smith of the University of North
Carolina gave the dedicatory address on "The Significance of History in a
Democracy." It was an inherently forgettable address, but R. D. W. Connor,
the secretary of the North Carolina Historical Commission, printed it anyway.
What makes this little booklet pertinent tonight are two quotations that Connor
placed inside the front and back covers, respectively. The first read, "A people
who have not the pride to record their history will not long have the virtue
to make history that is worth recording." The other read, "No man is fit to
be entrusted with control of the present who is ignorant of the past; and no
people who are indifferent to their past need hope to make their future great."
This was neither the first nor last time Connor used those quotations,
which help explain why he spent his career — except for five years as President
Franklin Roosevelt's first Archivist of the United States — collecting, preserving,
promoting, and teaching North Carolina history.
Interest in and efforts to preserve the history of our state did not begin
with R. D. W. Connor — nor with his friend, J. G. deRoulhac Hamilton who,
while Connor was at work in Raleigh, was building up a treasury of source
materials here at Chapel Hill that in 1930 was formally named the Southern
Historical Collection. In fact, Connor, Hamilton, and their contemporaries were
building upon pioneer efforts of nineteenth-century North Carolinans like David
L. Swain, who in 1844 organized the Historical Society of the University of
North Carolina, and William L. Saunders, who edited that magnificent collec-
tion called the Colonial Records of North Carolina. Still, the crusading spirit of
Connor and the collecting instincts of Hamilton helped usher in a twentieth-
century renaissance in the study of our state's past. It is no idle boast that since
the turn of the century North Carolina has done more through official state
action to preserve its historical resources than any state in the Union; that the
State Division of Archives and History is now the premier state historical agency
of the nation; and that the enormously rich manuscript repositories and printed
collections at the University of North Carolina, Duke, East Carolina, Wake
Forest, and other institutions and organizational headquarters make the state
virtually a researcher's paradise.
This encouraging description of our twentieth-century historical progress
can be credited only partially to the work of Connor, Hamilton, and their
associates, for though they established the tradition of leadership, its continua-
tion fell to their successors, like Albert Ray Newsome, Christopher Crittenden,
James W. Patton, Hugh T. Lefler, and men and women who sit in this ballroom
tonight. It is one of them that we honor with the North Caroliniana Society
Award for 1985.
William Stevens Powell is the embodiment of those characteristics that fired
the Connors and the Hamiltons of former generations — a North Carolinian
by both birth and conviction, a collector by instinct and determination, a teacher
by temperament and dedication. His interest in history was stimulated by his
grandmother's eyewitness accounts of life in the nineteenth century; his happiest
college hours were in history classes; his journalistic bent was turned to writing
historical articles for newspapers and magazines; and his familiarity with the
history and geography of the state equipped him for his first professional position
as researcher in the Department of Archives and History.
Thirty-four years ago "Bill," as William Powell is universally known, came
back to the University from which he had received three degrees. He was employed
by Miss Mary Lindsay Thornton, that remarkable lady who, through friendship
with John Sprunt Hill and the encouragement of Louis Round Wilson and
successive librarians, had built an impressive body of North Caroliniana, which
incidentally, was just occupying in Wilson Library fine new quarters furnished
by Mr. Hill. The combination of this great collection of printed works and
its Chippendale setting must have been a dream-come-true for the native of
Johnston County, who grew up in Statesville, worked for a while in the Yale
University's sumptuous rare book room, and now found that his own University
had accorded North Caroliniana the attractive and dignified surroundings that
For seven years Bill Powell was Miss Thornton's strong assistant, and they
learned from each other. His talent for locating materials in bookshops and catalogs
was legendary, and the North Carolina Collection grew rapidly. His intimate
knowledge of state history enabled him to guide researchers to obscure and seldom
used sources. In 1958, William Powell succeeded Miss Thornton as head of the
Collection. Building upon her accomplishments, he rapidly filled the shelves
that had been provided for expansion, and before he resigned the curatorship
in 1973 to become a fulltime professor of history, his acquisitions had been so
numerous that the Collection had outgrown its shelves and floor space. The
North Carolina Collection was even then matched in size and comprehensiveness
by no other state collection of published materials in America. It has continued
to grow since then and will, next year, move back into the main portion of
Wilson Library with greatly expanded facilities — retaining, I am glad to say,
the Chippendale atmosphere originally introduced by John Sprunt Hill.
David Stick has described Bill Powell's contributions to history, including
his impressive bibliography of published books and articles. While it is true
that some of a scholar's writings may be on subjects of interest largely to other
academicians, it is also true that they provide resources for others who write
popular history. In that regard, Bill Powell has performed a role not always
adequately recognized by contemporary scholars — that of mining original
manuscripts and providing in published form the resources that make it possible
for others to sit in comfortable surroundings and conduct their research in in-
dexed books. A perfect example is his North Carolina Gazetteer, the sort of volume
that forces us to ask, "How did we get along without it?" Another is the mam-
moth undertaking, the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, the second volume
of which will be out this year. How did we get along without them? The truth
is that we simply went along, ignorant of the valuable information that they
could have furnished us — information that might have affected our decisions,
broadened our understanding, and enriched our work. Incidentally, Ida and I
are glad that we are not included in that second volume of DNCB, even though
it covers the F's. You see, the first criterion for inclusion is that the subject be dead!
I have mentioned but two of the extraordinary number and variety of books
and articles produced by Professor Powell. His bibliography, I am told, is equalled
by no other member of the Department of History, and he is now at work
on, among other things, a new state history textbook. He remains unchallenged
as the most prolific living writer of North Carolina history. He continues to
travel the breadth of the state, speaking to historical organizations, patriotic
groups, civic clubs, and school classes. The entire citizenry is his audience, whether
through his classes, speeches, or writings.
Even so, Bill Powell's influence may have been greatest among the students
who have taken his courses here at the University. He estimates that since 1964
he has taught 6,000 students, including as many as 500 in a single year. His
enthusiasm is contagious, and enrollment in his classes has often been limited
only by capacity of the assigned classrooms. The overwhelming majority of his
former students are now voting citizens of North Carolina; many of them have
served in the General Assembly and in other places of leadership. All have bene-
fitted from an increased understanding of their state through a study of its past.
By extension, our entire state has been a beneficiary of this training.
History, however, has had rough going in the past two decades, both in
the public schools and in higher education. For a time our obsession with
presentism relegated history to virtual irrelevancy. Enrollments in history plum-
meted, and it became possible for a student to go through twelve years of public
school and four or more years of college without ever taking a course classified
as history. We are recovering from the extremes of that myopia, but I want
to conclude with a special appeal for a continuation of emphasis upon the study
of North Carolina history here at Chapel Hill. We cannot allow Bill Powell
to be the last of a long line of influential state historians like Connor, Hamilton,
Newsome, Crittenden, and Hugh Lefler. An understanding of the resources and
development of our state is all the more essential in an age of rapid change,
both in the composition of our population and the complexities of our times.
If there be those who look upon state and local history as "provincial," beneath
the dignity of scholarship for exploration and education, let me remind all of
us that the University of North Carolina belongs to the taxpayers of this state
and answers to them. From time to time in the past our great institution has
momentarily forgotten that simple fact, and in every instance we have been
brought back into line by an aroused populace. As we strive for excellence in
scholarship in the eyes of the world, we must strive for excellence in service
in the eyes of our own people. This university provides no service greater than
that offered through an understanding of our origins, our struggles, our failures,
our successes, our needs, and our potentials — an understanding that is gained
through a study of our history as taught by inspired professors such as Bill Powell.
To you, William S. Powell, I extend the thanks of the University that you
have served so well the past third of a century, and of the people of North
Carolina, whose heritage you have so diligently and effectively portrayed through
your collecting, researching, writing, and teaching. All of us are in your debt
for not fully retiring at this time, for we know that your "half-time" work
for the Department of History will in fact continue to be a full-time commit-
ment to the service of our University and our state.
If there has ever been a true "University man" in the tradition of the 1911
Yackety-Yack, it is Archie K. Davis who, deprived of an opportunity to enter
graduate school in history as was his ambition, took a job offered him during
the Depression. In more than forty years during which he rose to the very top
of the banking profession (he is the only person ever to be elected president
of both the American Bankers Association and the United States Chamber of
Commerce) and sat on the boards of the great corporations of the country (both
business and philanthropic), Archie Davis never lost his interest in history. He
was a sort of roving ambassador for North Carolina and Southern history, spicing
his speeches and articles with allusions to past experience.
When, in the 1970s, Archie carried out his ambition and returned to graduate
school, Bill Powell and I sat on his graduate committee, and we saw a semi-
retired banker outwork and outproduce students fifty years his junior. I am
glad to tell you that a distillation of his enormous work on The Boy Colonel
will be published by the UNC Press in September. Even this distillation is a
big book, and I predict that it will be favorably received by both professional
and general readers.
Archie Davis is such a modest man that he accepted our presidency four
years ago on the strict condition that he not be selected to receive our North
Caroliniana Society Award. His acceptance of reelection each year is conditioned
on that promise. Though too modest to accept an award himself, he takes great
pride in presenting it to others, the latest of whom is William S. Powell.
ARCHIE K. DAVIS:
Thank you, H. G.: friends, relatives, admirers, all honored guests gathered
here this evening to pay tribute to a great North Carolinian.
To honor Bill Powell is to honor a tradition in the study of North Carolina
history here at Chapel Hill that began generations ago.
The personification of this grand tradition is to be found in the lives and
works of such distinguished scholars and leaders as David Lowry Swain, founder
of the first historical society here in 1844; Kemp Plummer Battle, who revived
in the postwar period what Governor Swain had earlier endowed with long
and enthusiastic support; J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, founder of the Southern
Historical Collection, which is considered the finest collection of Southern
manuscript material to be found anywhere; R. D. W. Connor, the first secretary
of the North Carolina Historical Commission, the first archivist of the United
States, and professor of history at the University, who inspired a renaissance
in the study of North Carolina history in the twentieth century; Albert Ray
Newsome and Hugh T. Lefler, both immensely popular professors at Chapel
Hill, who taught two generations of students the history of this great state;
and Mary Lindsay Thornton, the first specifically named librarian of the North
Carolina Collection, under whom Bill Powell served and ultimately succeeded.
In 1974, H. G. Jones succeeded Bill and now presides over the largest and
most complete collection of published material on state history in America. It
is only in this context that we can truly evaluate the magnitude of Bill Powell's
accomplishments in a field that he so dearly loves. As teacher, researcher, writer,
editor and author, there is simply no one who can match the intensity of his
dedication and determination to discover as well as to uncover the past. I have
had the privilege of observing him at work in the state archives at Raleigh.
No bird dog in search of its quarry has ever been more relentless in pursuit
or has followed a scent with keener instinct or with greater alacrity before coming
to a point!
Of necessity, this must be so, for Professor Powell has always been involved
simultaneously with programs, projects, and publications having to do with
his beloved state of North Carolina. Obviously, time is of the essence with him —
not enough of it in the present for the amount of it in the past. For instance,
in 1977 alone, he published no less than "three books, continued writing on
several others, and taught more than 500 students."
This is the Bill Powell whom we are privileged to honor this evening,
perhaps not so much for his individual accomplishments as for his profound
understanding of the sense of commonality and provincial pride that has long
characterized the history of our state. He dwells more on the people and their
accomplishments than on individual personalities. While North Carolina may
not have produced a Washington, Franklin, or Jefferson, every generation has
provided the kind of leadership and the kind of popular will that have cast North
Carolina in a truly distinctive role in which a sense of progress has been tempered
by moderation; a sense of pride, by appropriate humility; and a sense of pur-
pose, by understanding — truly a legacy of common good for which each suc-
ceeding generation must be eternally grateful.
It is now my privilege to present the 1985 North Caroliniana Society Award,
which reads as follows:
The North Caroliniana Society,
in recognition of his public service and
of his promotion, enhancement, production, and
preservation of the literature of his native state,
North Caroliniana Society Award
William Stevens Powell
June 14, 1985.
By William S. Powell
I am deeply grateful for the kind words said this evening about me and
my work even though the whole occasion was arranged against my wishes.
When I protested, H. G. Jones told me that he was determined to proceed
with his plans, and that with or without my approval the North Caroliniana
Society would carry on.
A few weeks ago, nevertheless, he informed me that I would be obliged
to speak for at least five minutes — longer if I would. I am glad now that he
overcame my objections and that he allotted me a few minutes to respond. It
is gratifying, of course, that each of you is here this evening, and I do appreciate
your presence and what I presume it signifies.
Nearly half a century ago when I was in the Statesville public schools a
very fine English teacher, Miss Mary Thomas from Tupelo, Mississippi, had
us memorize a good bit of poetry. When gathering my thoughts last Monday
about what I should say tonight, a selection from Tennyson's Ulysses came to mind:
All times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known — cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honored of them all —
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met. . . .
I feel that I am, indeed, a part of all that I have met, and this evening
seems a suitable time to acknowledge my indebtedness. My parents, of course,
who took me on vacation and holiday trips all across the state, who saw that
I did my homework, who exposed me to piano and art lessons even though
I had talent for neither yet came to appreciate both. My parents also, largely
by example, tried to demonstrate the importance of being polite, considerate
of others, and modest. These are traits I have not always succeeded in
A favorite uncle and my father took my sister and me and some cousins
on Sunday afternoon walks across fields and pastures and through woods, and
taught us the names of trees, shrubs, vines, and wild plants; identified birds,
snakes, frogs, toads, and other creatures. Cousins in both ends of the state with
whom I went to check rabbit hollows on cold, frosty mornings, or hunted
squirrels, possums, or wild turkeys (in Sampson County), or went fishing. Con-
federate veterans and Spanish-American War veterans with whom I talked on
the courthouse porch. Blacks who had been born into slavery were not reluc-
tant to speak to me of their youth — especially an ancient, loving couple who
recalled my great-grandfather who had been their "master." My recollection of
these people and perhaps a dozen black children with whom my contemporaries
and I played— and my mother's firm instructions that I should never be less
polite to a black person than he was to me— have been important to me all my life.
David Stick has already mentioned my grandmother; she was born in 1851
and went to a school under John G. Eliot, UNC 1822, a teacher whom she
often quoted to me. She was clearly determined that I should know things that
she knew from the past. In the summer when I was nine she must have decided
that the time had come to demonstrate certain things for me. Recalling what
she had seen in her own childhood, she had me help her make a big pot of
lye soap; we ground up an awful lot of peanuts and made peanut butter; she
carded some wool and showed me how it was spun; we peeled some apples
and dried them in the sun on top of the woodshed; and she scrubbed some
black iron skillets in the sand. She opened three large trunks in the upstairs
hall and showed me treasured linens, photographs and tintypes, souvenirs from
long-ago trips, a pair of gold earrings made for her by one of her father's slaves,
fancy buttons, and other assorted mementos. These I had seen several times before,
of course, but this showing was special. The next year, on Mother's Day after-
noon, she died peacefully.
My western grandfather whom I admired very much never seemed to "work"
as most other men did, yet he was always busy. He fancied himself something
of a politician and held minor local offices. I sometimes went with him when
he "politicked" and on election day I was at the polls nearly all day and at night
when ballots were being counted. This grandfather had an antiques shop but
he didn't seem to keep regular hours there — he had the wife of the man who
rented his farm open up when customers arrived. One customer whom he always
tried to serve himself, however, was Mrs. Maude Moore Latham of Greensboro.
As early as the 1930s she was buying fine pieces of furniture for her dream —
the restoration of Tryon Palace, and she would talk to me about this when I
happended to be underfoot.
Another friend of my grandfather's who seemed to me to be idle a good
bit of the time was Clarence Boshamer of Statesville, father of Cary Boshamer
who gave the baseball stadium to the University. While Mr. Boshamer and
my grandfather sat under the mimosa trees in the front yard and talked, Mr.
Boshamer 's chauffeur sometimes took me to ride in his electric automobile. For
his shop my grandfather often bought chests of drawers, desks, trunks, and other
pieces in which the former owner had left pamphlets, letters, broadsides,
documents, and other things, some with big wax seals. Early on it became my
delight to rummage through these pieces and beg for whatever caught my fancy.
Quite a few interesting things that I rescued have now found their way to the
library here and to the State Archives in Raleigh. Needless to say, I still have
some, and my collection of early United States and Confederate stamps is con-
siderably larger than it otherwise might have been.
From all of these people (and others as well) I learned various obscure and
often useless things. Perhaps much of this is the kind of thing real professional
historians say make one an "antiquarian" rather than a historian. Nevertheless,
occasionally I mention something of this kind of thing in class. At the conclusion
of a semester one time a student thanked for the "nickel knowledge" he had
picked up from me.
It probably would be impossible to draw up a complete list of the people
from whom I have drawn information, ideas, examples, and even inspiration.
Be that as it may, this evening I am moved to cite just a few. Nancy Blair Eliason,
my high school biology teacher who later became a college professor and who
still lives in the state, expanded upon what I had already learned on those Sun-
day afternoon walks. She was one of the best informed and most inspiring teachers
I ever had. But no wonder— she holds two degrees from the University of North
In college I cannot recall a single teacher who wasn't knowledgeable and
enthusiastic. One of them terrified me, however, with his vast learning and his
gruff mannerisms. When I had to go to Professor Howard Beale's office to make
an oral book report or to his house for tea (which he required of every stu-
dent), I didn't sleep the night before and couldn't eat all day. I finally concluded
that he was a professional New England Yankee who was trying to intimidate
backwoods Southern boys. It didn't take me long to learn an important lesson
in his class: not to take another one.
In other classes I was in what a farm boy would have called "hog heaven."
Hugh Lefler (from Davie County) and Ray Newsome (from Union County)
were at the top of my list. Both taught North Carolina history and I had both
of them. Lefler also taught the colonial period of American history and Newsome
taught the Federal period, and I took both. They were "tops" in the classroom
As a senior I took the reference course in the School of Library Science
as an elective. Although it was unusual for an undergraduate to appear in a
professional school, Professor Lucile Kelling made me feel quite comfortable —
in fact she took a special interest in my work. Her course was both challenging
and rewarding. It introduced me to hundreds of books that have served me
well during over forty years of research and writing. Miss Kelling (now Mrs.
Archibald Henderson) still lives in Chapel Hill, and we frequently enjoy long
chats about old times in the Village.
When I came back to graduate school after World War II, R. D. W Connor
had also returned following his service in Washington as the first Archivist of
the United States. His course on the early colonial period was a model for
organization and clarity not approached by any instructor that I have known —
before or since. He was a friend to all of his students, and was himself a link
to the past for us. One of his books had been used in my fourth grade North
Carolina history class and I already held him in awe even before I met him.
Without dwelling at length on details, I must say that I learned more from
(and am quite deeply indebted to) several other people than they realized — in
fact several of them probably never sorted me out from dozens of others on
their class rolls. E. J. Woodhouse and "Chick" Harland were noted for their
"crip" courses— but I credit one for such understanding of municipal government
as I have and the other for my appreciation of the King Tut exhibition that
I saw a few years ago. And I still can tell for whom the three pyramids were
built, and I recognize pictures of the Ishtar Gate when I see them. L. R. Wilson,
Hunt Hobbs, Howard Munch all have a place in my heart, and things I learned
from them surface in my mind upon demand. If some of my students some
time in the future should say the same about me I would feel well rewarded.
I never had classes with Frank Graham, Archibald Henderson, Roulhac
Hamilton, Jim Patton, or Rupert Vance, but I did know them later. I believe
they found me a willing listener, and my impression was that they enjoyed talking.
Dr. Frank and I sat on the nearest convenient stone wall frequently when we
met on campus and I called on him at the Nags Head cottage occasionally,
especially to talk about the Lost Colony. Dr. Hamilton and Dr. Patton both
had endless stores of facts about people they had known, as well as humorous
anecdotes about famous, infamous, or imaginary people and events. Dr. Henderson
and I never talked about mathematics, of course, but we did talk about North
Carolina people and history.
Chris Crittenden falls into a very special category. He became my "boss"
first, and then my friend. He was as effective a teacher outside the classroom,
which is where I knew him, just as he must have been in one. He taught me
many valuable lessons.
My friend Albert Coates defies classification. He grew up on a Johnston
County farm near where I was born, and he knew my grandfather. (My father
told me stories about Albert as a child in the neighborhood that I have never
had the audacity to repeat to Mr. Coates.) He has befriended me on many occa-
sions, urged me to do certain things, and he knows the variety of topics we
have discussed to my advantage.
Because of things I learned from these and other men and women, for
what their examples have meant to me, and for their confidence over a long
period of time, I feel justified in adopting the words of Ulysses, as Tennyson
expressed them, as if they were my own: "I am am a part of all that I have
met." Nevertheless, as you have often read in the foreword to books, I must
absolve them all of any blame for my errors, omissions, and failures — I am respon-
sible for all of them myself.
For the past thirty-three years this very day, my most faithful assistant as
well as my most valued critic has been my wife, Virginia. She was an English
and history major in college and afterwards earned a degree in library science.
No historian could ask for better preparation in a co-worker. Although she did
not find me (it was in the State Archives in Raleigh that we met) until twenty-
one years later, she was born the same year my grandmother died. I have often
thought about that coincidence.
In reflecting upon my life I feel a sense of gratitude that God in His wisdom
chose to place me in North Carolina at this particular time. With adequate
Divine guidance I might have been content in North Dakota or some other
place, but only if I were kept totally ignorant of North Carolina. To have lived
at some other time might have been bearable — the 17th century perhaps would
have pleased me — but I would have yearned for electric lights, plumbing, and
central heat if I could have imagined them. Instead, I think I have been placed
in the best of places at the best of times, and with the best of people. Everywhere
I have lived, I have enjoyed good neighbors. I grew up with congenial playmates,
made some lasting friends at the University as well as in the army, have been
most fortunate in my professional associates, and enjoy the love and support
of numerous close and distant relatives.
Although it is not entirely appropriate to this occasion, I should like to
conclude my self-revelation in this quadricentennial period with another brief
poem that Miss Thomas had us memorize. It was written by Sir Walter Raleigh
the night before he was beheaded.
Even such is time which takes in trust
Our youth, our Joyes, and all we have,
And pays us but with age and dust:
Who in the darke and silent grave
When we have wandered all our ways
Shuts up the story of our days.
And from which earth and grave and dust
The Lord shall raise me up I trust.
Thank you for honoring me tonight. Tomorrow in the clear light of day
I hope you will forgive me for prolonging this occasion unduly.
Thank you, Bill Powell, for allowing us to twist your arm and for
giving us this evening with you, Virginia, and your family.
There are but two unfinished items.
First, on behalf of the staff of the North Carolina Collection, I want
to present to Bill a little memento. Appropriately, it comes not with a
ribbon but with a rubber band. It is a set of the catalog cards filed under
the name "Powell, William Stevens, 1919- ." May that space after the
hyphen remain blank for decades to come, and may our file drawers con-
tinue to grow with cards indicating your further publishing record.
And finally, as always, Virginia, his strong support and assistant, has
sat here quietly and nodded in assent as we have paid tribute to William
S. Powell, historian. So that you may have just a little something to take
home tonight, will you, Virginia, join Bill as we bring out a very modest
cake, without candles but with our congratulations on your thirty-third
wedding anniversary, and will the audience rise and sing "Happy An-
niversary" to Bill and Virginia.
Thank you all for coming.
A Small Payment on N.C.'s Debt to Bill Powell
By Jack Claiborne
[The following article is reprinted with permission from the Charlotte Observer,
19 June 1985.]
If his only book were The North Carolina Gazetteer, North Caroli-
nians would still owe William S. Powell a tremendous debt. The paper-
back, subtitled "A Dictionary of Tar Heel Places," is an invaluable guide
to more than 20,000 cities, counties, towns, villages and other landmarks
that dot North Carolina from the mountains to the sea. It can help the
hurried reader differentiate between Lenoir city in the west and Lenoir
County in the east, or distinguish the town of Wadesboro from the village
of Wadeville, or locate such picturesque places as Devil's Elbow, Bear Grass,
Pigeon River or Coldass Creek. The Gazetteer alone amounts to a pro-
digious piece of scholarship.
But the 300 people who gathered in the banquet hall in Chapel Hill's
Carolina Inn last Friday night were honoring Bill Powell for a lot more
than that. They were honoring him for more than 30 years of labor that
has produced a staggering array of books, pamphlets, articles, dictionaries,
bibliographies and commentaries on life and times in North Carolina.
They were honoring him for such diverse works as the Dictionary
of North Carolina Biography (containing sketches of more than 7,000 notable
North Carolinians), for editing and annotating the letters of Royal Gov.
William Tryon (in two volumes), for researching and writing the histories
of two counties (Caswell and Lenoir) and the biographies of two early
Carolinians (Moses Curtis and John Pory), for compiling documentary
histories of the Albemarle settlement and the Revolution Regulator move-
ment, for a pictorial history of UNC-Chapel Hill, for pamphlets on the
Carolina Charter of 1663 and on the eight lords proprietors, for a
monograph on the development of higher education in the state, for a
history of St. Luke's Episcopal Church at Salisbury, for a history of the
Roanoke Island Historical Association, for a look at reading tastes in North
Carolina from 1730 to 1850, for an annotated bibliography of N.C. fic-
tion, for a history of North Carolina in colonial times, for a bicentennial
history of North Carolina, and, finally, for teaching N.C. history to more
than 6,000 students from 1964 until 1985.
If there is such a thing as a "Mr. North Carolina History," Bill Powell
is it. His works fill several inches in the author's card catalogue in the
UNC Library, and his classes have been among the most popular offered
in the UNC History Department. But Mr. Powell is retiring this spring
from full-time teaching, and his friends in the North Caroliniana Society
wanted to make sure he was given an appropriate send-off. They presented
him the society's annual distinguished service award, an honor that previous-
ly had gone to such luminaries as playwright Paul Green, Institute of
Government founder Albert Coates, former Sen. Sam J. Ervin Jr., UNC
President William Friday and his wife, Ida, Tryon Palace preservationist
Gertrude Carraway and poet laureate Sam Ragan.
The main speaker was David Stick of Manteo, the Outer Banks
historian who was one of Mr. Powell's classmates at Chapel Hill in the
late 1930s. He said Bill Powell was perhaps the only man in North Carolina
who could cross the state and spend a night in every county, either at
the home of a former student or of a moderator at whose meeting Mr.
Powell had once spoken, usually without honorarium or even money for
After Mr. Stick came President Friday, who, after praising Bill Powell's
contribution to the state and the university, noted that under current plans
his chair in the UNC History Department might not be filled, that there
is a move underway to deemphasize N.C. history as unworthy of a great
university. Mr. Friday wanted it known that he was not in sympathy with
"We cannot allow Bill Powell to be the last of a long line of influen-
tial N.C. historians," he said, and issued what he called "an appeal" for
renewed study of this state, its people, institutions and development. His
remarks drew sustained applause.
Following Bill Friday came banker Archie Davis, who, after his retire-
ment as chairman of Wachovia Bank and Trust Co., returned to UNC
to renew his studies of state history. As president of the North Caroli-
niana Society, he presented Bill Powell the annual service award. The citation
included the fact that in one year, Prof. Powell had published three books,
was at work on several more, contributed articles to several scholarly journals
and still managed to teach more than 500 students.
The Best Was Last
But the best performance of the evening came from Bill Powell himself,
who said, that, like Ulysses in Tennyson's poem, he was a part of all whom
he had met. He talked movingly about the people who had shaped his
life and work, beginning with his grandmother, Edith Millard Powell.
She taught him to dry apples in the sun, to scrub pots with sand, to
identify the plants and animals on her Duplin County farm — and to be
curious about the past. She had lived through the Civil War and
Reconstruction and wanted her grandson to know what that was all about.
He talked about his parents, Isaac and Ada Powell of Statesville, who
on holiday and vacation trips had exposed their children to historic sites
in the state; about Nancy Blair Eliason, a biology teacher at Statesville
High who took her students into the fields to examine life and the condi-
tions that made it possible; and finally about R. D. W. Connor, Hugh
Lefler, Ray Newsome and Christopher Crittenden, who had preceded him
as N.C. historians. He said he rarely sat down to write without thinking
of those people, about a specific idea or concept they had taught him.
The evening was, on the whole, a demonstration of the value of
history, a testimonial to its impact on our lives and attitudes, as a means
of understanding the culture that we have inherited and of our obligation
to preserve and pass on that understanding.
It was, in sum, another item in our mounting debt to Bill Powell.
Bibliography of the Publications of
William S. Powell for the Years 1941-1985
"The Arrest of Zebulon Vance," The State Magazine, June 7, 1941
"Capt. Blakely's Daughter," The State Magazine, July 5, 1941
"Pines and People" in A Carolina Sampler (New York: 1941)
"Torrence's Tavern," The State Magazine, March 29, 1941
"Old Ebenezer," The State Magazine, October 24, 1942
"Hillfield Academy," The State Magazine, July 18, 1942
"The Sons of Temperance," The State Magazine, June 13, 1942
"Navigation on the Neuse," The State Magazine, September 19, 1942
"A Clue to the Mysterious Disappearance of Virginia Dare," The State
Magazine, May 8, 1943
"Getting in the Corn," The State Magazine, March 6, 1943
News for Ex-1164thers (Winter 1946-Winter 1949)
"Books in the Virginia Colony Before 1624," William and Mary
Quarterly, April 1948
The Ceremonies Attending the Unveiling of a Monument to the Three
Presidents North Carolina Gave the Nation (Historical sketch, 1948)
"Beginning of Banking in North Carolina, 1804-1860," E.S.C
Quarterly, Winter 1949
"A Connecticut Soldier Under Washington," William and Mary
Quarterly, January 1949
"The Diary of Joseph Gales, 1794-1795," edited, North Carolina
Historical Review, July 1949
History News, editor, Vol. V (November 1949)-Vol. XII (October 1957)
The Journal of the House of Burgesses of the Province of North-Carolina,
1748. Reproduced in facsimile in celebration of the 200th anniversary
of the printing press in North Carolina; with an introduction (Raleigh:
"Philip Alexander Bruce, Historian," Tyler's Quarterly Historical and
Genealogical Magazine, January 1949
"Trading Paths, Packs, in Early Merchandizing in State," E.S.C
Quarterly, Summer-Fall 1949
The War of the Regulation and the Battle of Alamance, May 16, 1111
(Raleigh: 1949). Reprinted 1957, 1962, and subsequently
"The Bicentennial of Printing in North Carolina," North Carolina
Historical Review, January 1950
Frontiersmen, Makers of America (Charlotte: 1951)
A Bihlography of North Carolina County Histories, with Eva J. Lawrence
"John Pory on the Death of Sir Walter Raleigh," William and Mary
Quarterly, October 1952
"Dictionary of Orange County Biography," in Orange County,
1152-1952, edited by Hugh T. Lefler and Paul Wager (Chapel Hill:
"FOOD East, West, Piedmont," The State Magazine, February 28,
"The Lords Proprietors," The State Magazine, April 18, May 2, May
23, June 13, July 4, August 29, September 12, September 26, 1953
"North Carolina Church History: The Bishops of North Carolina,"
The North Carolina Churchman, December 1953-January 1955
"North Carolina Foods," American Heritage, Winter 1953
"Roanoke, From Tribulation to Tragedy," American Heritage, Winter 1953
St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 1153-1953 (Salisbury: 1953)
"Sir Walter Raleigh," American Heritage, Winter 1953
The Carolina Charter of 1663, How It Came to North Carolina and Its
Place in History, With Biographical Sketches of the Proprietors (Raleigh:
"Citizens' Library Movement in North Carolina," North Carolina
Libraries, November 1954
"First Flight," American Heritage, Winter 1954
North Carolina County Histories, A Bibliography (Raleigh: 1954)
"The Paroquet," The State Magazine, August 28, 1954
Library Notes, editor, No. 1-No. 183, 1955-58
"North Carolina Church History: Tar Heel Bishops in Other States,"
The North Carolina Churchman, February 1955-September 1956
"North Carolina Bibliography, 1955-1956," North Carolina Historical
Review, April 1957
"Roanoke Colonists and Explorers: An Attempt at Identification,"
North Carolina Historical Review, April 1957
"Tryon's 'Book' on North Carolina," edited, North Carolina Historical
Review, July 1957
"Aftermath of the Massacre: The First Indian War, 1622-1632" Virginia
Magazine of History and Biography, January 1958
i Countie of Albemarle in Carolina, A Collection of Documents,
1664-1675, edited (Raleigh: 1958)
"Eighteenth-century North Carolina Imprints: A Revision and Sup-
plement to McMurtrie," North Carolina Historical Review, January
Moses Ashley Curtis, 1808-1872, Teacher, Priest, Scientist (Chapel Hill:
"North Carolina Bibliography, 1956-1957," North Carolina Historical
Review, April 1958
North Carolina County Histories, A Bibliography (Chapel Hill: 1958)
North Carolina Fiction, 1734-1957: An Annotated Bibliography, editor
(Chapel Hill: 1958)
North Carolina Libraries, editor, Vol. XVI (February 1958)-Vol. XIX
"North Carolina Bibliography, 1957-1958," North Carolina Historical
Review, April 1959
The North Carolina Collection: Acquisition Policy (Chapel Hill: 1959)
"A Swift Broadside from the Opposition," Virginia Magazine of History
and Biography, April 1959
"The Native" in This Is the South, edited by Robert West Howard
"As Artists Saw the Lost Colony," The State Magazine, July 23, 1960
"North Carolina Bibliography, 1958-1959," North Carolina Historical
Review, April 1960.
The North Carolina Collection (Chapel Hill: 1960)
A Collection of Many Christian Experiences, Sentences, and Several Places
of Scripture Improved. A Facsimile of a North Carolina Literary Land-
mark. [By Clement Hall]. With an Introduction. (Raleigh: 1961)
"The Day We Had Three Governors," The State Magazine, August
"How Come Rumbling Bald Is Called Rumbling Bald?" The State
Magazine, October 1961
"Local Materials for Reference —Their Acquisition and Administra-
tion," The Southeastern Librarian, Winter 1961
"North Carolina Bibliography, 1959-1960," North Carolina Historical
Review, April 1961
"Welsh Speaking Indians?", The State Magazine, December 1961
"Beginning of Banking in North Carolina, 1804-1860," The Tarheel
[sic] Banker, July 1962
"Burlington," "Culpeper's Rebellion," "Jean Ribault or Ribaut,"
"Rocky Mount" in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1962 ed.
"The Devil Was Real," in The North Carolina Carolina Miscellany, edited
by Richard Walser (Chapel Hill: 1962)
"North Carolina Bibliography, 1960-1961," North Carolina Historical
Review, Spring 1962
North Carolina Lives, The Tar Heel Who's Who, editor (Hopkinsville,
"Patrons of the Press: Subscription Book Purchases in North Carolina,
1733-1850," North Carolina Historical Review, Autumn 1962. Also
published as a pamphlet.
"Yaupon, The Indians' Cure-All," The State Magazine, June 1962
Annals of Progress, The Story of Lenoir County and Kinston, North Carolina
A Guide to Reading 17th Century North Carolina History (Raleigh: 1963)
Reprinted from North Carolina Libraries, Spring 1963
"North Carolina Bibliography, 1961-1962," North Carolina Historical
Review, Spring 1963
The Proprietors of Carolina (Raleigh: 1963) (Reprinted a number of
"Carolina in the Seventeenth Century: An Annotated Bibliography
of Contemporary Publications," North Carolina Historical Review,
Higher Education in North Carolina (Raleigh: 1964)
"Home of Radio," The State Magazine, June 20, 1964
"North Carolina Bibliography, 1962-1963," North Carolina Historical
Review, Spring 1964
North Carolina, A Students' Guide to Localized History (New York: 1965)
"North Carolina Bibliography, 1963-1965," North Carolina Historical
Review, Spring 1965
Paradise Preserved (Chapel Hill: 1965)
"Perpetuating a Memory," in The Lost Colony Souvenir Program, 1965
Stephen Beauregard Weeks, 1865-1918, A Preliminary Bibliography (Chapel
North Carolina (New York: 1966)
"North Carolina Bibliography, 1964-1965," North Carolina Historical
Review. Spring 1966
"Some Guides for Creating Interest in Social Studies," Tarheel [sic]
Social Studies Bulletin, Fall 1966
"A Flag and a Coat of Arms. . .The Symbols of Raleigh's Colony,"
in The Lost Colony Souvenir Program, 1967. Repeated in 1968, 1969,
1970, 1971, and 1972
"North Carolina Bibliography, 1965-1966," North Carolina Historical
Review, Spring 1967
"The Revolutionary War," "The Civil War" in Atlas of North Carolina,
edited by Richard E. Lonsdale and others (Chapel Hill: 1967)
"North Carolina Bibliography, 1966-1967," North Carolina Historical
Review, Spring 1968
The North Carolina Gazetteer (Chapel Hill: 1968) (Reprinted seven
times with modest revisions)
Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, A Student's Guide to Localized History (New
"North Carolina Bibliography, 1967-1968," North Carolina Historical
Review, Spring 1969
The North Carolina Colony (New York: 1969)
"Speaker John Pory," Virginia Cavalcade, Summer 1969
Higher Education in North Carolina. Second edition (Raleigh: 1970)
"North Carolina Bibliography, 1968-1969," North Carolina Historical
Review, Spring 1970
"North Carolina," in Encyclopedia Americana Yearbook, 1971
"North Carolina Bibliography, 1969-1970," North Carolina Historical
Review, Spring 1971
100 Years, 100 Men, 1871-1971, by Gary Trawick and Paul Wyche.
Edited with Christopher Crittenden and Robert H. Woody.
The Regulators in North Carolina: A Documentary History, 1759-1776.
Compiled and edited with James K. Huhta and Thomas J. Farn-
ham (Raleigh: 1971)
"Virginia Dare," in Notable American Women (Cambridge, Mass.: 1971)
"What's In a Name? History," Raleigh Magazine, 3 (1971)
The First State University, A Pictorial History of The University of North
Carolina (Chapel Hill: 1972)
"North Carolina," in Encyclopedia Americana Yearbook, 1972
"North Carolina Bibliography, 1970-1971," North Carolina Historical
Review, April 1972
Colonial North Carolina, A History, with Hugh T. Lefler (New York:
"Creatures of Carolina from Roanoke Island to Purgatory Moun-
tain," North Carolina Historical Review, April 1973
Newsletter, Department of History, editor, No. 22 (Autumn 1973)-No.
34 (Autumn 1985)
"North Carolina," in Encyclopedia Americana Yearbook, 1973
"North Carolina Bibliography, 1971-1972," North Carolina Historical
Review, April 1973
"The RIHA and the Lost Colony" in The Lost Colony Souvenir Pro-
"Why Carolina Was Granted to the Proprietors," in Perspectives in
South Carolina History, The First 300 Years, edited by Ernest M.
Lander, Jr., and Robert Ackerman (Columbia, S.C.: 1973)
"Carolana and the Incomparable Roanoke: Explorations and Attemp-
ted Settlements, 1620-1663," North Carolina Historical Review,
Chronolog of the American Revolution. (Ten essays prepared for and
distributed by the North Carolina Bicentennial Office.) (Raleigh:
"North Carolina," in Encyclopedia Americana Yearbook, 1974
"North Carolina Bibliography, 1972-1973," North Carolina Historical
Review April 1974
"History," in North Carolina Atlas edited by James W Clay and others.
(Chapel Hill: 1975)
University Days of the Past (Chapel Hill: 1975)
"Albemarle Settlement," "Assembly, First American," "Cape Fear River
Settlements," "Culpeper's Rebellion," "Edenton," "Heath Patent,"
"North Carolina," "Raleigh's Lost Colony," in Dictionary of American
History (New York: 1976)
John Pory, 1572-1636, The Life and Letters of a Man of Many Parts
(Chapel Hill: 1977)
North Carolina; A Bicentennial History (New York: 1977)
When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County, North
Carolina, 1777-1977 (Durham: 1977)
"Who Came to Colonize?", in The Lost Colony Souvenir Program 1977,
"Colonial North Carolina, 1585-1764," in Writing North Carolina
History, edited by Jeffrey J. Crow and Larry E. Tise (Chapel Hill:
Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, editor and contributor. Vol.
I (Chapel Hill: 1979)
The First State University, A Pictorial History of The University of North
Carolina (Chapel Hill: 1979)
"John Pory" in Southern Writers, Biographical Dictionary, edited by Robert
Bain and others (Baton Rouge, La.: 1979)
The Correspondence of William Tryon and Other Selected Papers, editor
Vol. I (1980), Vol. II (1981) (Raleigh)
"1584-1587, A Brief Account of the Story of the Original Roanoke
Colony," in The Lost Colony Souvenir Program, 1980, 1981, 1982
"The Battle of Guilford Courthouse: A Pyrrhic Victory for the
Crown," Tar Heel, March 1981
"What's In a Name? Why We're Called Tar Heels," Tar Heel, March
"Clement Hall (c. 1699-1759)," "John Pory (1572-1636)," in American
Writers Before 1800, A Biographical and Critical Dictionary, edited
by James A. Levernier and Douglas R. Wilmes (Westport, Conn.:
England, Sir Walter Raleigh, and the Roanoke Colonies, a Bibliography.
"William Johnston: Eighteenth-Century Entrepreneur," The Durham
Record, Fall 1983
"An Elizabethan Experiment," in The North Carolina Experience, An
Interpretive and Documentary History, edited by Lindley S. Butler
and Alan D. Watson (Chapel Hill: 1984)
Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, editor and contributor. Vol.
II (Chapel Hill: 1985)
"For England and the Queen." Tar Heel Junior Historian, Winter 1985
North Carolinians (Society, Inc.
North Carolina Collection
UNC Library 024-A
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514
Chartered on September 11, 1975, as a private nonprofit corporation under pro-
visions of Chapter 55A of the General Statutes of North Carolina, the North
Carolinians Society has as its main purpose the promotion of increased
knowledge and appreciation of North Carolina heritage through studies, publica-
tions, meetings seminars, and other programs, especially through assistance to
the North Carolina Collection of The University of North Carolina Library
in the acquisition, preservation, care, use, and display of, and the promotion
of interest in, historical and literary materials relating to North Carolina and
North Carolinians. The Society, a tax-exempt organization under provisions
of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, depends upon the contribu-
tions, bequests, and devises of its members and friends.
Unofficially limited to one hundred North Carolinians who have contributed
significantly to the state, the Society elects additional individuals meeting its
criterion of "adjudged performance," thus bringing together men and women
who have shown their respect for and commitment to our state's unique
historical, literary, and cultural inheritance.
A highlight of the Society's year is the presentation of the North Caroliniana
Society Award to an individual adjudged to have given unusually distinguished
service over a period of years to the encouragement, promotion, enhancement,
production, and preservation of North Caroliniana.
The North Carolina Collection, the headquarters for the North Caroliniana
Society, has been called the "Conscience of North Carolina" for it seeks to
preserve for present and future generations all that has been or is published
about the state and its localities and people or by North Carolinians, regardless
of subject. In this mission the Collection's clientele is broader than the University
community; indeed, it is the entire citizenry of North Carolina as well as those
outside the state whose research extends to North Carolina or North Caroli-
nians. Its acquisitions are made possible by gifts and private endowment funds;
thus, it also represents the respect that North Carolinians have for their heritage.
Members of the North Caroliniana Society have a very special relationship to
this unique institution which traces its beginnings back to 1844 and which
is unchallenged as the outstanding collection of printed North Caroliniana in
existence. A leaflet, "North Carolina's Literary Heritage," is available without
charge from the Collection.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Archie K. Davis, President
William S. Powell, Vice-President
H. G. Jones, Secretary-Treasurer
William McWhorter Cochrane Frank H. Kenan
Louis M. Connor, Jr. Henry W. Lewis
Frank Borden Hanes George Elliott London
Betty Hodges Edward L. Rankin, Jr.
William D. Snider